Lawyers are required to maintain standards of conduct under the jurisdiction of the state attorney bar association they are licensed in. All states have some form of a disciplinary counsel where complaints can be filed. These counsels are usually set up by the state bar association or in some cases by the state supreme court.

The state bar association is funded by lawyer fees, not by taxpayer funds. The Counsel members are appointed and are comprised of lawyers and some non lawyers. Anyone can file a complaint but misconduct is only considered if a complaint is filed. To file a complaint write a detailed letter stating the grievance. Detail the conditions under which the lawyer was hired and all relevant contact information. Or fill out a complaint form if provided by the state disciplinary counsel.

Complaints are then reviewed by the counsel and may be rejected if the counsel deems the complaint lacks sufficient evidence. If the counsel considers the complaint is supported by enough facts to substantiate its allegation an investigation will be opened. Typical violations may include ethical concerns, misrepresentation, conflict of interest, and the inability of the lawyer to communicate and or handle the case in a professional manner.

Reprimands against lawyers vary by state but typically can be a private or public reprimand, censor, suspension, or disbarment. Note that commissions are reluctant to take action on complaints without strong evidence. Many States attempt to resolve differences before complaints are filed.

Complaints must be strongly substantiated with relevant documentation or affidavits.